The measure establishes a process whereby those with certain marijuana-related convictions (possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to four mature plants) will have their convictions reviewed and automatically expunged. Under the new law, courts will have until the end of next year to clear all eligible criminal records. The measure’s proponents estimate that as many as 10,000 Vermonters will be eligible to have their records expunged.
The bill also decriminalizes certain marijuana offenses. Under current law, the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to two plants for non-commercial purposes is not subject to penalty, but activities involving greater quantities are subject to criminal sanction. Senate Bill 234 reduces the penalty for offenses involving the possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana and/or the cultivation of three plants to a civil fine.
The new law takes effect on January 1, 2021.
For more information, contact Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator.